Monday, June 13, 2011

A Look Back At My Predictions

Way back in October, before the recently completed NBA season began, I did a Twitter-length prediction for each and every team. Some pretty amusing hits and misses. Here are the original, unchanged predictions with some follow-up commentary:

1 BOSTON C�s go from old to oldest. Age and injuries finally catch up to Grouchy Green. ECF at best. (Good call- they lost in the East Semis to Heat in 5.)

2 KNICKS Felton�s overrated. Amar�e only plays one end of the floor. They�ll score enough to win half their games. (Also good, NY finished 42-40.)

3 RAPS With Bosh gone, Bargs moves to his natural PF spot. Kleiza signing is a plus. If Calderon�s healthy, they sniff the playoffs. (Waaaay off- 22-60, Kleiza sucked donkey dick.)

4 SIXERS Yuck. Who�s playing C for these clowns? And why did Collins take this shitty job? (Um, no. 41-41 w COY votes for Collins, but I was right about the C position.)

5 NETS Avery�s a good coach. Not good enough to get more than 20 wins out of this lineup, though. (24-58, so pretty close. Kinda.)

1 BULLS Boozer helps them score more. That�s enough to win this awful division. Noah�s body keeps breaking down. (Nailed it!)

2 BUCKS Bogut�s health is the big factor. With him, they�re competitive. Without? Dog shit. Jennings continues to shoot poorly. (Yes and yes.)

3 CAVS Mo and Antawn put up huge numbers. Big year for Varejao, too. Doesn�t matter. Without LBJ, they�re nothing. (Mo and Antawn gave up, Andy got hurt. Miss.)

4 PISTONS Charlie V and Gordon signings still haunt Dumars. Tayshaun and Rip get moved for picks. Blow it up. (Almost right, Tay's trade is just taking a lot longer than anyone expected.)

5 PACERS Whatever. At least they traded Murphy. Collison will find that playing PG in the NBA is considerably more difficult with a playbook. (Frank Vogel- who knew? Missed on Indy for sure.)

1 HEAT Even with a terrible C platoon, they�ll still crush this division. James and Wade on the same team should mean a trip to the Finals, too. (Yeah, I picked them to rep the East but not win the ring.)

2 MAGIC Dwight Howard needs to cut out that smiling crap if they want to topple Miami. The best big man in the NBA needs to be an intimidator. (Less smiles and more T's.)

3 HAWKS A big step backward. Bibby and Crawford are so bad on D. Jealousy over JJ�s contract. Bad news bears. (Shoulda called Woodson's firing, too. Damn it.)

4 CHARLOTTE Larry Brown�s good behavior grace period ends. Gerald Wallace breaks his everything. Jax resumes tradition of sulking. (Glad Crash is healthy. And a Blazer.)

5 WIZARDS Wall and Arenas play the same spot. Until Gil gets traded, nothing they try will work. Wall�s the real deal, though. Future All-Star. (Yep.)

1 LAKERS Champs added Matt Barnes and Steve Blake. Easily the class of a weakened West. Only thing that can stop them is injuries. (And Dallas' matchup zone, apparently. Miss.)

2 SUNS Nash makes everyone better. Career year for Hakim Warrick. Losing Amar�e means they�re back to fighting for the 8 spot, though. (FAIL- Warrick was garbage and they were 6 games out of the 8 spot. Boo. Horrible pick.)

3 CLIPS Blake Griffin reminds everyone he�s a #1 pick. Eric Gordon bombs away. Kaman continues his slow descent into madness. (Yes on all counts!)

4 WARRIORS Another team whose 2 best players, Curry and Ellis, are redundant. Loooong year for GS. Some of the shine comes off young Steph. (RIGHT between the EYES!)

5 KINGS Tyreke does his thing again. Everyone else stands around watching. Cousins is too slow footed and foul prone to stay on the floor. (Cousins took advantage of Tyreke's absence to prove me wrong. But I might make this same prediction NEXT year.)

1 MAVS Another 50 win season. Another early playoff exit. Yawn. (Yes, I'm an idiot. But I'm certain I wasn't alone in doubting Dallas.)

2 SPURS As always, Duncan is the key. If he�s healthy, they�re a threat. Pop gets way too much credit for their rings- it�s all about TD. (Wrong! TD plays 76 games and they still get bumped in the 1st round by the Grizz.)

3 ROCKETS They can win 50 with or without Yao. Morey continues to assemble smart, scrappy players. Courtney Lee will fit in nicely. (Nope. Midseason trades and only 42 W's.)

4 HORNETS CP3 phones in the entire season. Peja actually mummifies before our very eyes. (Not even close on CP3, kinda true about Peja.)

5 GRIZZ Contract year for Z-Bo. Ruh roh. OJ Mayo also looks to get his. Gay gets grilled for not justifying his bloated deal. (I sold this entire team very, very short.)

1 THUNDER Durant�s not only a top 5 talent but also a consummate leader/teammate. Westbrook and Green thrive in his shadow. Still not good enough to scare LA. (Or Dallas, who beat 'em 4-1 in WCF.)

2 BLAZERS Oh, Oden. Same old story for Mr. Glass. Worth noting that he had one of the league�s best PER's when he was actually on the floor last year. (Microfracture surgery in November- missed whole year.)

3 JAZZ DWill makes it easy for Big Al to step right into Boozer�s shoes. Losing Matthews and Brewer hurts their perimeter D, considerably. (Who saw the DWill/Sloan beef coming?)

4 NUGS Does Melo stay? Does it matter? I really should put them higher but the combustible egos concern me. (Team played well enough after the Melo trade to reach 50 wins.)

5 WOLVES When your best player is Kevin Love, you�re fucked. Ricky Rubio speaks enough English to know this, as well. (Love was an All-Star and Rubio just announced he's coming. Herp derp.)

In summary, I slept on Dallas and gave entirely too much credit to Linas Kleiza and Hakim Warrick. But overall, I was solid. I'll have to try again whenever these greedy motherfuckers decide it's okay to have another season.

pictured: Most Improved? Not so much.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Nash & Nowitzki Retrospective

Dirk's on the precipice of a championship while his best bud Nash sits at home. Doesn't feel quite right, does it? Things might be different if Cuban didn't opt for Erick Dampier instead of the eventual two-time MVP. But I digress.

Here are my 5 favorite pictures of the erstwhile Dynamic Duo:

Dirk's either saying what's up to Buck Showalter or ordering two more lagers from the bierfrau. Nash, meanwhile, is rolling his tits off.

This is why I love Steve Nash. In a league of image conscious egomaniacs, he's always down to play the fool.

Cowboy Up, as they say. Most surprising thing about this masterpiece? That Cuban can actually carry Dirk without throwing his back out. Nice Mom jeans and Mavericks Intensity t-shirt, Mark.

Just a hunch but I bet the bros were really into Moby back in the day. Donnie Boozeface looks hammered as usual.

Speaking of hammered...ahem. Perhaps the greatest photo in NBA history. This is probably the night Dirk met Crystal Taylor.

Best of luck to you, Dirk. Bring home the title for the little guy...and all the humble homies that just want to get wasted and dance with their shirts unbuttoned.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Twitter Dork Bro-Down

Last night I hooked up with three dudes I met online.

No, it wasn't random sex in a cheap hotel room but rather a meeting of hoops fans who'd been sharing ideas and jokes for years now.

Twitter/blogosphere pals Seth Johnston, Travis Margoni, Joe Morris and I decided to congregate at Portland's Slow Bar to see if our friendship stood the test of actually having to be in the same room with each other.

A little personal backstory: since the birth of my daughter eight months ago, I've seen my social life practically vanish. I used to be in a band. I used to go to clubs, bars, parties and concerts. Now I have playdates with other parents and trips to the park with the stroller. The idea of making new guy friends and doing manly things appealed to me.

The fellas were more or less what I expected them to be- smart dudes with good senses of humor. But the meeting had an awkward blind date kinda vibe until we got a few drinks in us. And started talking basketball.

Our waiter looked exactly like a young Lindsey Buckingham. The music was loud but Lindsey B had an annoyingly quiet speaking voice. Not surprisingly, he got my drink order wrong.

The conversation started with funny stories about being unfollowed on Twitter and whether or not someone should take that personally and unfollow back as revenge.

Then we moved on to pondering Blazers defense and what effect pace plays on its overall ranking. I asked if the Brandon Roy buyout story was legit and everyone felt that John Canzano pulled that out of his ass and that his "inside source" was probably his own imagination. The group agreed to be each other's inside sources for future breaking Blazer news (Nate McMillan diagnosed with cancer!).

I was getting drunk and talking too much.

The topic turned to this year's Finals. I expressed my belief that the Heat were going to win, even though I dreaded the possibility. Everyone concurred that they were temporary Mavs fans simply because they didn't want to see Miami holding the trophy.

Despite our collective malevolence, we all agreed that LeBron James was the league's MVP again this year and that he's officially underrated now, somehow. We even pondered the possibility that he might be a sensitive soul who's really torn up inside over the public reaction to his offseason theatrics. Poor LeBron.

Time passed quickly. Drinks kept coming. Lindsey B was replaced by a rocker chick with sufficient volume to project over Danzig and Metallica. I'm sure we were louder by now, too.

We talked about the Bird/Dirk comparisons. Seth mentioned Nowitzki's Australian walkabout as a sort of vision quest that allowed him to find his focus. We laughed about Dirk's relationship with his creepy shooting/life coach whose name was escaping us.

"German Goldschlager. (laughs). No, wait, what is it?"

"Herman Goldfinger."

"Werner Knobschlobber."

More laughter. At this point in the evening, I suddenly felt like these guys were my friends. Gotta love the bonding powers of alcohol. And sports. And Holger Geschwinder.

Suddenly it was nearing closing time. We'd been there about four hours. Everyone was bleary-eyed. We said our goodbyes and agreed that another Bro-Down should be planned in the future. Good times, good group of guys.

Pictured: me, Seth and Joe (photo by Travis)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

All-Star Party Crashers

I've crashed a party or two in my day. Most of the time, it's gone pretty smoothly. But on rare occasion, my uninvited presence hasn't been welcomed. I'm standing there trying to look inconspicuous as I drink the free booze when suddenly there's a tap on my shoulder. I turn around and it's some indignant bastard saying things like "Who do you know here?" or "How did you get in?" or "I'm gonna have to ask you to leave."

It's an embarrassing feeling when everyone at a party knows you don't belong.

That's about to happen to some lucky stiff at this year's All-Star Game. Everyone in the building will eyeball one sorry motherfucker and collectively think "What the fuck's HE doing here?" Because it happens that way every single year. Don't believe me?

Chris Kaman, David Lee and Gerald Wallace played in last year's game. Forgot that, didn't you?

In 2009, Mo Williams, Devin Harris and David West magically appeared in uniform.

2008- David West again. Guy's like a ninja, hard to detect. He can really blend into a crowd of superstars. For this adaptive quality alone, David West might be the best crasher of them all.

2007- Caron Butler, Josh Howard, Mehmet Okur. Can't you picture these three standing awkwardly around the punch bowl?

2005- Big Z, Shawn Marion, Rashard Lewis, Antawn Jamison.

2004- Jamaal Magloire, perhaps the least talented player to ever get a nod, puts up 19/8 without a hint of irony. The ultimate crash. AK47, Mike Redd and Brad Miller also attend the evening's festivities.

2002- Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Wally Szczerbiak? Really?! C'mon, man! Fuckouttahere!

2001- Antonio Davis, Theo Ratliff.

2000- Dale Davis, Michael Finley.

1998- Drunk-ass Vin Baker missed 9 out of 12 shots. He didn't miss the open bar afterwards.

1997- Tom Gugliotta, Chris Gatling, Christian Laettner.

1996- Vin Baker, not yet at rock bottom, only misses 3/5 (though he does leave the building with a lampshade on his head).

1995- Dana Barros and Tyrone Hill. For reals. Hill was forced to play the game with a protective mask when his butt-ugly face kept scaring little children.

1994- Whose dick was BJ Armstrong sucking? Wait, nevermind. I remember now.

1992- Michael Adams, Otis Thorpe.

Alright, that's far back enough to make the point.

So who's this year's impostor? Kevin Love? Luis Scola? Ray Felton? Don't get me wrong- all of these dudes are good players. They just don't look quite right rubbing elbows with the elite.

Pictured: Tyrone Hill without the mask